Brattleboro man found guilty in federal court
The government needed only two witnesses to prove Tyrone Byrd, 42, guilty. Byrd did not take the stand to defend himself this week in U.S. District Court in Rutland.
Brattleboro Sgt. Adam Belville reported he stopped Byrd while he was driving a car on Canal Street on Oct. 5, 2016, and later spotted a fully loaded handgun on the front floor on the passenger side. The 2008 Toyota had a defective or not fully illuminated headlight that caused Belville to signal Byrd to pull over at the Econolodge.
Belville and Special Agent Scott Murray of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were the lone prosecution witnesses. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Darrow had them testify about the loaded .357-Magnum found in the car.
The prosecution and defense agreed as the trial began to stipulate about Byrd's criminal record, which includes felony convictions in Bennington and Windham counties.
Byrd received a 4-to-10 year prison sentence in Bennington County in February 2007 for an aggravated domestic assault conviction. Byrd was on furlough at the time he was arrested and he eventually served most of the 10-year sentence because he later attacked an inmate, records show.
Byrd told arresting officers in the gun case "I was always getting in fights," court records indicate.
In the domestic assault case, his then-girlfriend was beaten "so severely that her faced required reconstructive surgery," a motion to detain Byrd noted. A prosecutor noted a tooth also was found at the scene.Byrd also has a Windham County conviction for felony possession of cocaine in December 2001, the indictment said. Other court records mention an armed robbery conviction, but the indictment does not list that in the felon gun charge.
Darrow also introduced as trial exhibits the video from the traffic stop and the audio from the dispatch center. The jury also was shown the gun, the bullets and holster seized during the stop.Belville became concerned by the loose handgun on the floorboard with an unlicensed driver in a third person's car. He later called for backup from another officer.
Burlington lawyer Karen Shingler, who defended Byrd, had tried unsuccessfully before the trial to get the seizure of the handgun suppressed on the grounds for an improper traffic stop.
The selection of the jury, opening statements and the trial were conducted Monday before Chief Federal Judge Geoffrey Crawford. Closing arguments were made Tuesday morning before the jurors retired to the jury room.
Byrd was a property manager for a 50-acre estate in Putney starting in December 2015 when he was arrested.
After the verdict Crawford ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to continue to detain Byrd. It was unclear when Byrd might be sentenced.
Earlier Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered Byrd detained because his criminal record included three felonies, including an armed robbery, six violations of probation and 11 failures to appear, court records show. Conroy noted the arrest came less than a year after Byrd was released from the 10-year prison term.
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